This week’s new video releases for kids includes two well-loved franchises and a new favorite that families making return trips to the multiplex. While “Finding Dory” is swimming circles around the competition for biggest screen thrill of the summer, these classics will offer families screen therapy that’s as close as the nearest TV.
— Tommy Hilfiger (@__brysonnn) June 14, 2016
The Land Before Time: The Complete Collection – (1988 – 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, DVD, Rated G, MSRP 50.00) This long-running franchise will turn thirty in 2018, meaning that the tots who adored Littlefoot’s first foray into the great big world are now old enough to have their own young dino fans. This box set coincides with the release of Journey of the Brave: The Land Before Time, the latest in the series that dropped February of this year.
This eight-disc set has all 14 movies in the series, offering kids a whopping 1,037 minutes of all ages entertainment. The Land Before Time enjoyed a long run of popularity as reliably safe choices for little cineastes at the multiplex, individual releases of the titles on various home video formats, and cable television staples. The new video release for kids has the appeal of having the whole set immediately available. Your littlest will love it while adults and older siblings may find themselves catching up on reading and email.
The around $50 for the set, it’s a good entertainment value, especially for very young children. In addition to the cinematic bank for parental bucks, this set also offers games, sing-along videos, and a few extra features. The drawbacks to this video set for kids will be primarily in the eyes of the beholders. The Land Before Time is not without its charms, and the first of the series had the benefit of being helmed by master animator Don Bluth. The movies that followed over the years varied in quality in terms of the writing, the acting and the animation. Bluth’s pitch-perfect blend of light and dark, sweet and bitter was never quite replicated in any of the 13 features that made up the rest of the franchise.
31.– Shrek pic.twitter.com/CGMEe9JZXC
— victoria,, arg (@SHATTEWC4RETA) June 17, 2016
Shrek 1-4 Anniversary Edition – (2001- 2010, Dreamworks Animated, Blu-ray, Rated PG, MSRP 35.95) Another family classic enjoying an anniversary year is Dreamworks’ 15-year-old Shrek franchise. This Blu-ray set includes the original movie that started it all, Shrek (2001), and the three sequels that followed over the course of the decade. Unlike Littlefoot’s three-decade trudge through the Mesozoic, the minds behind Shrek went for quality over quantity, producing four films over the course of the preceding decade. By keeping much of the same talent involved from film to film, the continuity and the evolution of the series is quite strong.
Dreamworks tries to make family movies that will appeal to all ages by dint of story, layered humor, and casts that appeal to adults as well as children. They have had more than a few near misses in this regard, with films like Madagascar that enchant kids and are, at best, mildly distracting for adults. Shrek has been a hit with all ages from the beginning. Small fry loves the candy-colored prettiness of Shrek’s world while older kids and adults catch the sly, sometimes borderline appropriate humor and cultural references.
Fans who have been waiting for a Blu-ray edition of Shrek: The Whole Story will find this latest iteration of Dreamworks’ best video set for kids comes with many of the same features included in the 2010 DVD boxed set:
- Conversation with the cast (HD)
- Deleted scenes
- Deleted scenes (HD)
- Donkey’s caroling Christmas-tacular (HD)
- Far far away idol (HD)
- Filmmakers’ commentary
- How to be green (HD)
- Karaoke dance party (HD)
- Secrets of Shrek (HD)
- Secrets of Shrek 2 (HD)
- Secrets of Shrek Forever After (HD)
- Secrets of Shrek The Third (HD)
- Shrek 2:
- Shrek Forever After:
- Shrek The Third:
- Shrek’s interactive journey: I
- Shrek’s interactive journey: II
- Shrek’s interactive journey: III
- Shrek’s interactive journey: IV
- Shrek’s yule log (HD)
- Shrek, rattle & roll music & more
- Shrek, rattle & roll music and more
- Spotlight on Donkey (HD)
- Spotlight on Fiona (HD)
- Spotlight on Puss In Boots (HD)
- Spotlight on Shrek (HD)
- The animators’ corner
- The tech of Shrek Forever After (HD)
- Worcestershire academy yearbook
Whether it’s to have a bit of nostalgia for a much-loved family film or introduce a new generation to the big green guy, This new video release for kids is a sure bet for family entertainment when it gets too hot to play out.
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— Zootopia (@DisneyZootopia) June 10, 2016
Zootopia – (2016, Walt Disney Studios, DVD/Blu-ray, Rated PG, MSRP 19.99/22.99) Disney’s feel-good midwinter smash hit is now available for home video. Zootopia ranks among The Mouse’s smartest animated features. Fans of The Rescuers movies (Don Bluth’s brilliant victory laps for Disney’s animation division), The Aristocats, and everything Pixar and Brad Bird will enjoy this lush, lovely feast for the eyes, ears, and funny bones. This shiny new video for kids has a lot to offer in terms of presenting a society that functions with dizzying diversity.
There’s something for everyone here, including more than a few good launch points for discussing cultural, physical, and ideological differences. Best of all, it’s loaded with extras, including a video of Shakira’s happily brain-sticky “Try Anything.” Don’t miss this brilliant new video for kids and everyone in proximity to kids (just in case you need an excuse.)
[Photo Illustration by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]